I feel full. In every sense of the word. Queso fundido with chorizo, blue corn dusted calamari with lemon-roasted jalapeño aioli, jumbo shrimp in a chipotle cream sauce, tres verdes rice, pork shank in a mole negro sauce, citrus glazed pork carnitas. I’ve consumed not just one, or a few of these delightful treats. Oh no. I ate them all. Like I said, I’m full. And while my belly is swollen to a point where I think it may burst at any moment, I can safely say that I feel an even deeper sense of fulfillment in my heart. This inexplicably delicious meal I speak of? Well I’ve shared it with a United States Supreme Court Justice, one who I admire very much. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was expected to arrive in town on Tuesday, January 27, 2015. I had thought I would be meeting her days later, at an event we were hosting for work. I thought I’d meet her in a professional setting. I’d get to shake her hand, have my photo taken with her, and have the opportunity to tell her how much I admire her. I’d even be able to ask her to sign my copy of her book, “My Beloved World.” This idea alone thrilled me.
|Princess and I with our copies of Justice Sotomayor's book, "My Beloved World"|
I think I expected a giant to walk into the room. In her judges’ attire, gavel in hand, with a horde of United States Marshalls flanking her on all sides. But the moment I saw her, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. She was warm and kind and genuine. A woman who took pride in her accomplishments and in her position, but who was also very level headed, down to earth, and surprisingly approachable. At one point during the meal, she insisted that we each have a bite of her mole. “This is delicious! You have to have a bite.” And with that, she shoved her plate to the center of the table so that each of us could have a taste. It wasn’t until my fork was halfway to my mouth that I realized, “I’ve just eaten off the plate of a United States Supreme Court Justice.” She wasn’t wrong. The mole was sensational.
|Camarones Diego, my entree of choice, at Frida Bistro in Salt Lake City. Yummmm.|
At first, we spoke about things you would expect us to speak about. Our positions at the association, our role in the community, the upcoming events she would be appearing at, and the logistics of our own event.
But then, we began to venture into more personal topics. We spoke about our homes, about baseball, hobbies, and family members. She seemed genuinely interested in getting to know us and asked my coworker and I about our respective graduate degrees and lives outside of work. We cracked jokes. We giggled. And at the end of the night, big warm hugs were exchanged.
|The four of us. I know it's kinda blurry and there's a bit of a glare, but I choose to ignore it. Because SONIA!!|
I am fully aware that very few people are given the opportunity that I was given that night. Not many can say they have met a United States Supreme Court Justice. Fewer can say they have met one they admire. Even fewer have shared a margarita with one. All I can say is that I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for that moment in my life. I am honored to have met such an amazing woman, one who has overcome so much, and has made her mark on history in the process. I am honored to have had the opportunity to not just shake her hand, but to have had a conversation with her, to share bits of my life with her, and to have watched the giant of a person I had read about on the pages of a book spring to life into this very real and spectacular human being. Major Audream come true.
Like I said, I feel full.
Here are some photos we managed to get a few days later at the event.
|This is me doing my best not to cry as I watch the Justice write a personal message at the top corner of the title page. For the record, I managed to keep it together until she left the room a few minutes later.|
|She met the whole fam! Might be the greatest pic ever.|
Much love, thanks for reading, and as always…